Britain's Carl Froch, left, throws a jab at Jean Pascal of Montreal during their 12-round bout. (Nick Botts/Associated Press)

Jean Pascal of Montreal lost a unanimous 12-round decision on Saturday night in Nottingham, England, in a gruelling fight for the vacant World Boxing Council super middleweight title.

Briton Carl Froch improved his record to 24-0, with 19 knockouts, with the victory over Pascal. While the decision for Froch was just, the scores of 118-110, 117-111, 116-112 were a little generous to the hometown fighter.

Both fighters showed tremendous heart and the ability to absorb punishment, exchanging dozens of powerful shots. Froch slowly pulled away in the second half of the bout with a more consistent work rate.

Pascal put forth a spirited rally in the 12th, and the fighters continued trading punches after the final bell until separated by the referee.

Froch captures the title relinquished by unbeaten Joe Calzaghe, who moved up from the 168-pound class to the light heavyweight division earlier this year.

Pascal (21-1, 13 knockouts) was looking to join Montreal's Lucian Bute as titleholder in the division. Bute holds the World Boxing Association super middleweight belt.

Pascal, 26, was the 2002 Commonwealth Games champion for Canada and represented the country at the Athens Olympics two years later.